Harvard University, one of the most prestigious academic institutions worldwide, is offering a free online course which allows students to discover the literature and heroes of ancient Greece.
The course, titled “The Ancient Greek Hero,” introduces students to the most well-known ancient Greek works, inlcuding readings such as the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, the tragedies of Sophocles and the dialogues of Plato, among others.
It explores ideas such as the definition of a classical Greek “hero,” the relationship between epic and lyric in ancient Greek tradition, the interaction of text and image and the connection between myth and ritual, as well as various other topics.
“The Ancient Greek Hero” began on August 15. It lasts 18 weeks total and requires between five to eight hours of commitment per week.
The following is an official description of the course:
Explore what it means to be human today by studying what it meant to be a hero in ancient Greek times.
In this introduction to ancient Greek culture and literature, learners will experience, in English translation, some of the most beautiful works of ancient Greek literature and song-making spanning over a thousand years from the 8th century BCE through the 3rd century CE: the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey; tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; songs of Sappho and Pindar; dialogues of Plato, and On Heroes by Philostratus. All of the resources are free and designed to be equally accessible and transformative for a wide audience.
You will gain access to a supportive learning community led by Professor Gregory Nagy and his Board of Readers, who model techniques for “reading out” of ancient texts. This approach allows readers with little or even no experience in the subject matter to begin seeing this literature as an exquisite, perfected system of communication.
No previous knowledge of Greek history, literature, or language is required. This is a project for students of any age, culture, and geographic location, and its profoundly humanistic message can be easily received without previous acquaintance with Western Classical literature.
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